Next month, British citizens have the opportunity to vote whether the United Kingdom stays or leaves the European Union. The United Kingdom currently has special status in a reformed European Union. It has kept the pound and has control of the border. According to the official government website, remaining in the European Union may be the best decision for the United Kingdom going forward, as it may contribute to the attractiveness of the UK for international investment. Membership of the EU supports the country access trade deals with over 50 countries around the world, resulting in more opportunities, jobs and potentially greater economic security. A recent press release from CBI further recommends the benefits for businesses to remain in the European Union. The CBI is a membership organisation which represents business in the United Kingdom. They have released several reports regarding the future of the United Kingdom within Europe. CBI claims membership of the EU may make the UK more attractive place to invest and may help make the EU more outward looking.
Conducting business in the EU may be particularly beneficial as the EU operates as a Single Market. This means the EU may allow the free movement of goods and services, which supports stimulate competition and trade, improves efficiency, raises quality and helps reduce prices. The Single Market Strategy is the European Commission’s plan aiming to unlock the full potential of the Single Market. The Single Market accounts for 500 million consumers and 21 million small and medium-sized enterprises. Businesses in Europe currently have the freedom to establish themselves elsewhere in Europe and the freedom to provide services in countries other than the one in which they are established. According to a recent press release from CBI, one of the main attractions of investing in the United Kingdom is access to the single market and increased trade. It further suggests the European trade agreements currently in progress with Commonwealth nations may provide the United Kingdom greater access to established and high growth markets. This may have trickle down effects such as the creation of more jobs and increased growth.
A report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) collected the views and opinions of FSB members in the United Kingdom and their perceptions of the upcoming referendum. The report found businesses who are more likely to see the EU as beneficial are those who relied on exports or imports from the EU, whereas members who far from rely on EU imports and exports are less likely to see the EU as beneficial. The United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union appears to mean different things to different FSB members, depending on their personal circumstances, nationality, interpretation of the history of the EU, and whether the business exports to or imports from other EU nations. From these findings, it appears there are a number of factors which may influence a voters choice to vote in or out, other than for business reasons.
David Cameron recently delivered a speech at a World Economic Forum (WEF) event on the economic benefits for remaining in a reformed European Union. According to the Prime Minister, there are many productive aspects of staying within the EU. He emphasises the value of trading in the Single Market of over 500 million people, which may be crucial for businesses operating in the United Kingdom. He further addresses a number of points regarding the views of those who believe leaving the EU is more beneficial, by providing information on how staying may increase the country’s economic strength. On Thursday 23rd June 2016, voters in the United Kingdom have the power to decide if the United Kingdom remains in the European Union. This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to decide the future of the United Kingdom and consider the larger picture.
What alternative benefits does holding a European Union membership provide for United Kingdom citizens?